Monday, December 15, 2008

As I re-evaluate the dress code

Thursdays are our Pyjama Days, aka, Stay at Home and Look Ugly days. Shep is the only one with school, ie, the only one who needs to even put on clothes. If we do get dressed, it is in the stack of play clothes set aside specifically due to stains or simple tackiness.

I had intended for this past Thursday to be a Crafty Thursday. But alas, I was ill-prepared. So it turned instead into a Please, The Weather Is Nice for Once, Just Go Outside and Play in the Backyard and Maybe By Some Miracle I Can Get a Load of Laundry Folded Thursday.

So far so good. Shep had a pair of scissors and was using them to fell an elephant ear plant that we have. Which was fine with me, because I am less than fond of the elephant ear plant. Elephant ears look like - sit down - elephant ears. Big heart-shaped leaves, and in my opinion, a little too Land of the Lost-ish to be pretty.

This particular one was a remnant of landscaping days gone by and grew like an odd duck along our fence. Of course, since I do not care for it, it grows as though it were lovingly fertilized and sung arias to daily. Cut away, Shep.

I checked on orally fixated Maggie and found her pretending to eat the elephant ear. Warned her "No mouth, Maggie! No. Mouth." She threw it on the ground and smiled at me. I folded some more.

Until a minute or so later when she came running in to the living room. Screaming. And gagging. And screaming, "My mouf! My mouf!"

I ran to her and asked the question I already knew the answer to. "Did you eat the plant Maggie?"


"Maggie, does it taste bad, or does it burn?"

"Tate bad! Bun! Bun!"

Locating my personal at home pediatrician and poison expert, Dr. Google, I typed in "elephant ear plant poisonous". And read this:

Intense burning and irritation of the mouth and tongue.
Death can occur if base of the tongue swells enough
to block the air passage of the throat.

Um, death?

One look at her throat revealed her tonsils were so swollen they were almost blocking her throat. Where her air passages.


At which point I could not find my car keys.

About three minutes and about 38 Dear sweet Jesus please's later, the keys were located on the back of the stove.

And so the Von Trash Family made a little trip to the ER.

Now fortunately these corner emergency clinics have been popping up left and right in my neck of the woods, which, knowing my kids and my parenting skilz, I have considered quite a blessing. Within five minutes I was unloading four children:
  • One barefoot baby with a dirty diaper
  • One little girl with hair in a That Should Keep It Out of Your Breakfast do, in a too-short top showing her tummy.
  • Another little girl in rather hideous purple flowered pants, also barefoot
  • And one little boy with a container around his neck. Occupied by a lizard. Who announced gleefully to everyone he saw, "My baby sister ate a POISONOUS PLANT. She could die, you know!"
Plus one frazzled mom in sweat pants and a very ratty headband, wanting to introduce herself as, "Hello, and yes we have an emergency, but first off the bat can I just say today is our stay-at-home-day and I swear we are not as white trash as we look."

Of course Maggie had quit screaming by this point and as she climbed the chairs in the waiting room, I repeatedly peered in her throat, then her Eva Rose's throat, then her throat, then Shep's throat, trying to gauge if she was indeed swollen enough to warrant a $100 emergency room co-pay. She was definitely swollen. Her skanky top was defintely wet with drool. And as I operate on a guilt-aversion basis, I laid out the plastic and we were ushered back into the examining room.

Which was better than a trip to Costco for my kids. Ike had cabinets to open and shut, Maggie climbed in and out of the bed, Shep accepted the challenge of turning tongue depressors into weapons, and Eva Rose blew the latex gloves into balloons.

A sterile preschool Nirvana, it was.

And after the doctor checked with Poison Control and determined that she would live, the joys only increased. Lollipops, stickers, and gloves, oh my!

We returned home. The baby was put to bed, and the kids were put in front of the TV.

And the momma? Well, she started dinner, and counted her blessings.


  1. I'm so laughing at your post...I'm serious---tears are coming down my cheek! I know you must have been very scared, but gosh, it's so funny to read about...
    Glad it worked out!

  2. This was funny......and not so funny, too.

    How scary!

    Poor Maggie and poor Mama!

  3. We never actually made it to the ER for a random ingestion, but there were more calls to poison control that are probably allowed by law. I'm glad they only make you give them your first name.

  4. Oh but Julie, they have caller ID, and they call you BACK.

    Um, so I have been told.

  5. I am sooo glad that she is fine. Whew.

    I wonder how many times a day they see the "Stay at Home and Look Ugly" look come through their doors. Surely, you aren't the first! I mean. Had you come in fancy dancy like they might have thought you had taken time to gussy up for them and wonder how committed of a mother you really are. 80)


  6. LOVE IT. And I totally relate. Von Trash!

  7. The Von Trash Family! How do you think of this stuff? I am so glad she is okay. It is so scary though. One time I had to call poison control and they had me call 911 and an ambulance and I thought my heart was going to explode it was beating so fast. Everything was fine, but wow, about the scariest 2 hours of my life ever.

  8. I am so glad I am not the only one who obsesses about how she looks in the emergency room.
    Von Trash Family. Now you just gotta get 'em to all sing.....

  9. Oh, no!

    What a crazy thing to have happened! I'm so glad everyone's OK...too bad it had to happen on your stay-at-home day, though.:( That's usually how it works, isn't it?

  10. I couldn't decide whether to laugh or just feel your pain. There is nothing scarier than a potential poisoning of your child. When Chickie Girl was about a year old I caught her eating fertilizer out of the yard and called poison control. Then I spent the next week obsessing over whether they had started a file on me and would call child services. Then last summer when Chickie Girl fell out of a tree and needed stitches, I was positive they would take her away. Because worrying about death just isn't enough for me to worry about.

  11. Missy, we've been "hanging out" together online for a while now, and I swear to you, this may be my favorite post EVAH!!!! I am laughing my freezing cold buns off up here. Von Trash family was the height of hilarity, but the whole thing is just laugh-out-loudable.

    Maybe it's the fact that I can totally relate in all ways - the Stay Home and Look Ugly Look (we're all three rockin it today), the being so thankful the kids are playing it never occurs to you that someone might poison herself, and the Please Jesus key search.

    Oh yes. This is great stuff, friend.

  12. You poor thing - I'm so glad everything is ok and this now falls into the "funny family story" category!

    Now you know the ugly plant is poisonous you can use that info to get your husband to get rid of it once and for all!

  13. Wow, good times! So you think that's the last time she'll try eating the elephant ear? Come to think of it, she probably won't even eat the elephant ears that come from the bakery with cinnamon on top. ;)

  14. I love your blog! It makes me feel so normal :). Last year (2 days before Christmas) we took our youngest in to the ER, after an unfortunate finger-slammed-in-the-door incident. It was 8 o'clock at night, probably 40 degrees out, and all 4 kids were barefoot, had no jackets on, and were un-fed. Really, I take care of my children....I promise!

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  16. Oh, don't worry, Missy. I think the ER staff has probably seen it all.

    I had to take my 6 year old to the ER this past summer right after swimming lessons. Two kids with wet hair and whatever clothes I could scrounge up as I was running out the door. So they looked a lot like the way you describe your kids. No shoes. And I had just finished working out right before swimming lessons, so I was a VERY sweaty, stinky, haggard-looking mommy. (I bet they were so glad when we left so they didn't have to smell me anymore!) We spent most of the day there--From 11:00 until 7:00 that evening. And we were being treated that whole time, too, so we weren't just waiting out in the waiting room. Nooooo, we were right there under the poor doctors' and nurses' noses.

    Lovely experience.

    But at least my kid is okay!

  17. I am so laughing and SO glad all is well! :)

  18. Glad all is well! Your outfits crack me up - perhaps we could vote on these outfits or your robes for your next trip to the grocery store.

    Seriously, I am glad to hear that your little one is well. I would be scared!

  19. Been my experience that trips to the ER never happen when you are washed, dried and pressed. :)(OR have two shoes and a clean diaper, for that matter.)
    Glad she's okay.

  20. Oh no! Sounds like a drama-filled day. Glad she is okay!

    Love to read your blog...I can't really remember how I found it, but it's in my favorites now! :)

  21. Oh my gosh! Do you ever wonder how we will ever raise these kids until they are out of the house? Just when you think you might have it together, they go and eat a plant! That day will go down in the record books I am sure! Just think, you can use that one on her when she brings her dates home! HE HE!

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  23. I am so happy that your little girl is okay, but seriously that is the most hysterical blog post, ever. Your witty writing sets a standard the rest of us can only hope to attain a small portion of.

    I so enjoy reading.

  24. I am so glad she is OK!!! I just laughed and laughed at this post!!

  25. Beware of the poinsetta's...we get at least one every year in our ER. But, I never knew about elephant ears...more reason not to like them!

    Glad to hear that she is okay! And, if you've made it this long without a poison control call- you are doing awesome!!

  26. At least it is PJ Thursday instead of "Naked Thursdays!!"

  27. Oh my gosh. How I can relate to your life! I don't expect that to be particularly comforting, LOL!!

  28. How scary! But your account was hilarious; love the way you find humor. :)

  29. Believe it or not I've had a very similar experience. My son decided while playing dinosaurs in our yard he should fully immerse himself in the roll and took a big bite out of a plant in the yard... except he was 7, so one would have expected a bit more discernment, but no. We were pretty well dressed for that event, but did do the nobody's properly attired visit to the ER when my daughter, 3 at the time knocked herself unconscious, so I can relate. Can I just say? Thank you, thank you, thank you for being there so I could relate.

  30. I'm so glad that everything turned out all right but can I just say that I am SO HAPPY that it's not just me that looks like white trash on occasion with all my kids in tow... especially when they're knocking over shopping carts and sniffing the gum at the checkout counter.

  31. Ha! I love it - Stay and Home and Look Ugly... oh how well I can relate to that. And 'Dr Google'? Yes, he lives at my house too. I love him.

  32. I just discovered your blog and am loving your posts about the "truth is stranger than fiction" moments of life :) As for those elephant ears, my years working at a greenhouse hadn't told me about their leaves being poisonous, so it's good to know. You might be interested to know that its root/corm is actually used for culinary purposes, and is a staple part of many people's diets in the Hawaiian Islands...when cooked, of course :)

  33. Brilliantly gifted writer, you are!!

    Hey, I couldn't help but wonder as I read this... would elephant's ears cause enough swelling to stop a husband from snoring? Kidding, kidding.... kind of kidding... sleep deprived kidding...

  34. "And so the Von Trash Family made a little trip to the ER.

    Now fortunately these corner emergency clinics have been popping up left and right in my neck of the woods, which, knowing my kids and my parenting skilz"

    EPIC. Gosh I wish we lived closer. Stupid Arkansas and Tennessee.



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